The Disaster Artist

James Franco's latest film is a ridiculously entertaining portrait of a man with delusions of genius


The Disaster Artist ★ 1/2

Perhaps you’ve heard of The Room. Frequently cited as one of the worst films ever, this 2003 drama-cum-accidental comedy has been selling out raucous midnight shows on weekends for years—as the poor ushers at the Coolidge Corner Theatre can attest, stuck as they are cleaning up the hundreds of plastic spoons that have been thrown toward the screen. (Don’t ask.) The film stars writer/director Tommy Wiseau, a vaguely European-accented man (he claims he’s from New Orleans) who displays no real talent either in front of or behind the camera, though he’s embraced his notoriety as a modern-day Ed Wood. And like Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic of that ambitious but troubled filmmaker, director/star James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is a ridiculously entertaining portrait of a mysterious man with delusions of genius, as seen by Wiseau’s co-star in The Room and then-best friend, Greg Sestero (played here by James’ younger brother Dave), who penned the memoir this film is based on. Franco dons facial prosthetics, long dark hair and ever-present sunglasses as he completely inhabits this oddball, a man whose only previous exposure to cinema seems to be a couple of films starring Marlon Brando and James Dean. Light as air and co-starring many of Franco’s friends—from Seth Rogen to Paul Scheer and cameos by dozens more—it’s a fun behind-the-scenes romp, even if you’ve never seen the film it’s sending up. (At Assembly Row, Boston Common, Fenway and in the suburbs.)

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